Asouan, Egypt, 1856-1860. Collodion print by Frith. Asouan (now Aswan) has been the gateway to Africa for centuries, especially important as a trading centre. It was considered by the ancient Egyptians to be the end of the world, and the sacred source of the river Nile. Francis Frith (1822-1898) took up photography in 1850, travelling to the Middle East as a photographer between 1856 and 1860. He is best known for taking photographs of towns and villages in Britain, which have now become archives of national importance.
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